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Patients of Cairns private dental clinic urged to get tested

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Assessments by Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) have identified problems with infection control practices at a private dental clinic in Cairns - Essential Dental for Life, Shop 25, Campus Shopping Village, 1-5 Faculty Close, Smithfield 4879.

Queensland Health has taken action under the Public Health Act to require the private clinic to cease providing dental services until proper infection control standards are met.

Assessments by Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) have identified problems with infection control practices at a private dental clinic in Cairns - Essential Dental for Life, Shop 25, Campus Shopping Village, 1-5 Faculty Close, Smithfield 4879.

Queensland Health has taken action under the Public Health Act to require the private clinic to cease providing dental services until proper infection control standards are met.

The Office of the Health Ombudsman has also taken immediate action to impose conditions on a dentist operating at the clinic, including requiring that the practitioner cease practising until such time as an audit is conducted to assess infection control, sterilisation processes and procedures.

Investigations by public health officials raised concerns about inadequate infection control standards at the private clinic.

Patients of the practice are considered to have been placed at a very low risk of being exposed to a blood-borne virus such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV (PDF 221 kB) from dental procedures performed at the dental practice.

The risk of disease transmission is very small.

Although Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) have no indication that any infectious or transmissible disease has been contracted by patients, it is important people be tested.

Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) will identify and contact people who have been treated at the private clinic since March 2018 to discuss testing for blood borne diseases, including viruses such as Hepatitis C (PDF 221 kB).

Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) will be attempting to contact patients of the private dental clinic and offering them appointments at special clinics where they can receive counselling, blood testing and advice. The clinic staff will also follow up with patients after test results are received.

Patients may also choose to attend their GP to arrange testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. For patients who do not have a regular doctor, 13HEALTH will be able to assist in identifying doctors in the area.

It should be noted that a positive result for one of these infections would not necessarily mean that the patient was infected at the private dental practice, as there are other sources of these infections.

In the unlikely event a patient tests positive for one of these infections, early diagnosis and treatment by appropriate medical specialists can prevent serious health complications and prevent transmission to others.

If you have concerns please call 13HEALTH (13 432 584) or see your GP.

Last updated: 30 July 2019